I know isolation. I know hermiting. I know not doing anything because I was in pain and doing things would aggravate it. I know how this leads to can’t-ing ourselves right out of things we want to do… but don’t have the energy or feel it will trigger pain so we decide just not to do it. I’ve been there. And in the end, you just don’t do anything as a result.
I do it. I think many of us do it. Here is the warning. I hermited for a few years. More than a few when my pain wasn’t being managed. And it isn’t good for a person, even an introvert. We need to get out and about once in a while and socialize.
So sometimes we have to get out of that comfort zone a little and find ways to engage more in the world.
Things I do:
- Go for walks (get me out of the house)
- Coffee with my mom
- Coffee with an old co-worker
- Game night with friends
- Karaoke night (I am there for support… no one needs to hear me sing. lol)
- Did a paint night one night. Going to try that again. It was a blast.
- Getting together for dinner, or shopping with my mom
- Family events
- Fires pits gatherings at our house with friends and/or our neighbors.
This weekend I plan on going to a fire and BBQ with friends in the city. And next weekend at my uncle’s 50th-anniversary party event.
So in the beginning, I was doing nothing. What helped was a little pain management. Then some acceptance on top. This awareness I’ll be at pain at home as well. Pain either way. As long as I go prepared I can enjoy myself. And by enjoying myself I get rid of that sense of isolation and I boost my mood. I don’t need a lot of social contact being an introvert. Just a little and quality not quantity for me.
What I get from being social:
- Decrease in isolation
- Boost to mood
- A great time and laughs
- Visiting people I enjoy being around.
- Doing things I enjoy
- Taking my mind off things.
I started really slow. I was just initially going for coffee with mom every couple of weeks or so. Just to get out of the house, which was driving me stir crazy. And slowly added into it from there. And going for walks, also to get me out of the house and my initial exercise program.
It depends on your pain, fatigue and comfort zone. It likewise depends on the activities. If someone invites me to a concert I’d Love to go, but I can’t. Migraines can’t handle the noise and lights. Just not something I can do. But a game night? Yes, I can do that. Or movie marathon. Or a small pub karaoke session, I can handle that. Going out for coffee or inviting someone to my place. Inviting a few people over for a fire at my place is also something mellow I enjoy. Going to a loud, packed bar or club? Nope. Tried that one night with a live band. Migraine in 2.5 seconds and it was a bad one, so off I went. So it depends on the activities to engage in. When to say no. What to suggest.
Also… means meeting new people. When you hermit for years? Not many people stick around, I’ll tell you that. We had to meet new people to hang out with. Two introverted people meeting new people? Hard stuff, man. But we did. Slowly but surely.
It was worth it to me. It was valuable to do. It made me feel connected and engaged with the world again.